Nancy Cruzan

Medical Patient
Date Of Birth:
20 July 1957
Date Of Death:
26 December 1990
automobile crash
Place Of Birth:
Carterville, Missouri
Best Known As:
The subject of Cruzan v. Missouri
Like Karen Ann Quinlan and Terri Schiavo, Nancy Cruzan became a public figure after entering a "persistent vegetative state." Nancy Cruzan was 25 years old when she was thrown from her car in a one-vehicle accident in 1983. She landed face-down in a ditch partly filled with water, and had no vital signs when she was found. Paramedics resuscitated her, but she was left permanently unconscious and without any higher brain function, kept alive only by a feeding tube and steady medical care. Nancy Cruzan's family waged a legal battle to have her feeding tube removed. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that the Cruzans had not provided "clear and convincing evidence" that Nancy Cruzan did not wish to have her life artificially preserved. The Cruzans later presented such evidence to the Missouri courts, which ruled in their favor in late 1990. The Cruzans stopped feeding Nancy in December of 1990, and she died later the same month.
Extra Credit

Nancy Cruzan is buried at Carterville Cemetery in Carterville, Missouri. Her grave marker reads:

BORN JULY 20, 1957
AT PEACE DEC 26 1990

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